U.S. Hands Over U.S. Airman and Rape Suspect to Japan

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Saturday, September 1, 2001
Bruce Zagaris
On July 5, 2001, the United States handed over U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Timothy B. Woodland, 24, to face rape charges, thereby temporarily ending a volatile dispute that threatened the continued ability of U.S. military bases in Japan. In explaining the U.S. Government’s decision to hand over Woodland, newly arrived U.S. Ambassador Howard H. Baker, Jr. explained the U.S. satisfied itself that Woodland “will receive fair and humane treatment.” Despite Baker’s statement, neither government would say what assurances had resulted in Baker’s statements. Woodland apparently will not be accompanied by either a lawyer or a U.S.-appointed interpreter during his interrogation, which can last 22 days. U.S. officials had initially requested both guarantees…[more]